Lightning strike is back
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Fans were able to see some old parts of the London Lightning and a lot more new ones during the team’s intra-squad game at Fanshawe College Wednesday (Oct. 17).
The crowd had plenty to smile about, starting with returning Lightning members in old form from the court to the bench.
Last year’s MVP Gabe Freeman had the ball sticking to him like magnets to a refrigerator when it bounced off the rim and even though the game was for charity, head coach Micheal Ray Richardson could be heard yelling at the referees asking, “Do you know what the (semi)-circle in the key is for?” or telling them, “This isn’t high school ball.”
“It’s just me. I don’t care if I’m playing checkers or whatever,” Richardson said. “I want to win and that’s the bottom line.”
There were only five players on the floor from last year’s National Basketball League of Canada’s (NBL-C) championship, but fans were smiling ear-to-ear for what could be the new names penciled into the Lightning’s roster.
Adrian Moss, London’s first round pick in the 2012 draft, weaved his 5-foot-9 frame around defenders much bigger than him to find the open shot and forward Jeremy Williams was making baskets whether an opposing player was in his face or not going 10-for-20 from the field.
The best standout of the night probably came from last year’s No. 1 overall NBL-C draft choice Morgan Lewis. The 6-foot-5 guard attacked the net before pushing the ball out to teammates for a game-high nine assists, caught passes off the backboard for dunks and flew under the basket for no-look lay-ups to collect 26 points.
“Lewis beat on us pretty good last year, so it’s nice to see him play like this,” said Andy, reminiscing when Lewis last came to London as an Oshawa Power player and dropped 27 points on the team he has a personalized yellow home jersey for. “At least he’s going to be on our side this year.”
The biggest standout—literally—was DeAndre Thomas. It’s almost impossible not to notice the 6-foot-8, 290-pound behemoth when he steps on the court.
“The guy's hands are bigger than the basketball,” said Shanon Waht, who hasn’t missed a Lightning game since Jan. 1 and doesn’t plan on missing any this year after picking up season tickets.
At the end of the day though, it’s not the players who pick the team.
“I haven’t really made up my mind yet,” Richardson after the game.
The Lightning staff has announced they plan to release the new London roster Thursday afternoon (Oct. 18).
Richardson did say he expects Freeman, Moss, Williams, Thomas, DeAnthony Bowden and Elvin Mims to make the 12-man cut.
The Lightning’s first and only preseason game is next Thursday (Oct.25) when they take on the Windsor Express at Budweiser Gardens.